Sunday 11 April 1999
When a counsellor says "treatment can be fun", he or she invariably sports the same expression as do exponents of winter bathing in the North Sea. Through some historical error, amateur revues are deemed to be "fun", so there are mad expressions all round.
We all sit around and try to think up some sketches. As you'd expect, it's absolutely dire. Try some time thinking up a comic sketch when you're doing Step Four (Making a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory of Myself).
But I soon realise who's going to be any good and who isn't. The smackheads are right there. They can remember their lines, they're bright as buttons. It's the dopeheads who are hopeless. Remember this next time someone like The Independent on Sunday promotes the legalising of dope. The fact is, if you've smoked dope for years, you can't remember your lines, and that's that. It's hard drugs that should be legalised.
Anyway, my favourite sketch is, of course, the one I perform in. While a beautiful prostitute and heroin addict sings Easter Parade accompanied by the Cool Chef on piano, I'm dressed as a rabbit, mounting another alcoholic dressed as a chicken, in a sketch titled "How Easter Eggs Are Made". It receives a resounding ovation and, thank God, the evening's over. Normally I'd be heading for a fat drink at this point, but I make do with five coffees and a packet of cigarettes.
Next morning, we go to the local church. At last, here is the sketch material I've been looking for. We arrive early in our addicts' bus and disembark to take our seats on one side of the aisle. The villagers enter and fill the other side. They know we come from the funny farm on the hill. They look nervously across at us and we leer back. It's a completely new take on the "Bride or Groom, Sir?" scenario, except here it's "Sane or Barmy, Sir?"
The Cool Chef plays the abysmal organ as best he can. The female vicar (forewarned by the Treatment Director) announces that those who don't wish to sup communion wine needn't do so. I taste it anyway. After all, Treatment is supposed to be fun.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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